Recipe: Pear and frangipane tart

Last weekend was one of those really special weekends, the joy of which lingers well into the following week. A big bunch of my university friends and I got together in the beautiful Cotswolds for two days of catch-ups, amazing food (tartiflette, crumble, slow-cooked lamb…), long muddy walks, wine, board games, and so much tea. It was quite perfect really. I was in charge of bringing Friday night’s pudding, and I chose Angela Hartnett’s pear and frangipane tart.

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This tart is fairly straightforward to make, and requires no blind baking which is always a winner in my book. There are quite a few steps to the recipe, but none of them are too complicated, and the pastry and frangipane can be made in advance if you’re pushed for time. Be warned – the pastry really is exceptionally short, so patching and pressing it into the tin is the answer – don’t do what I did, which was to attempt to roll it out several times, getting increasingly frustrated when it fell to bits on its way to the tin…

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My favourite part of this recipe was poaching the pears with lots of citrus and spice, which filled the kitchen with the smell of Christmas. So festive!

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We served up the tart with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. A perfect, light ending to a wintery supper.

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Recipe adapted from Angela Hartnett.

You will need a 23×2.5cm round, deep, fluted, loose-bottomed flan tin.

Recipe: Pear and frangipane tart


Ingredients

  • For the pastry:
  • 225g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 110g butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • For the frangipane:
  • 125g butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • For the poached pears:
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 4 good-sized pears
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • 3 cloves
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2-3 strips thickly pared orange zest
  • 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 2 tsp caster sugar

Directions

  • To make the pastry: Tip the flour onto a work surface. Cut the butter into cubes and dot over the flour. Sprinkle with the caster sugar.
  • Using your fingertips, rub the butter, flour and sugar together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  • Make a well in the centre, add the egg yolks and, using your fingers, gradually draw in the flour.
  • Knead lightly, until it comes together in a smooth ball – you might need to add 1 teaspoon cold water if the dough is very crumbly.
  • Wrap in cling film and chill for at least 30 minutes.
  • To make the frangipane filling: Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
  • Gradually beat in the eggs, one at a time, then fold in the ground almonds and flour.
  • Mix well and chill until needed.
  • To make the poached pears: Put the sugar in a saucepan, pour in 500ml water and place over a medium heat. Stir until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Peel the pears and add to the pan, along with the cinnamon and cloves. Squeeze the juice from the lemon into the pan and add the squeezed lemon and orange zest.
  • Split the vanilla pod in half, scrape out the seeds and add to the pan with the pod. Add some more water to just cover the pears.
  • Cut out a circle of baking paper large enough to fit inside the pan, and lay on top of the pears. Weigh down with a saucer or small saucepan lid so that the pears stay submerged in the poaching liquor.
  • Simmer for 20 minutes, then remove the pears to a plate with a slotted spoon and discard the liquor and solids.
  • Set aside for 15 minutes, or until cool enough to handle.
  • Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan170°C/gas mark 5.
  • On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the pastry to a circle large enough to line the tart tin. Don’t worry if it breaks up, as this is a very short, crumbly pastry – you can just patch it together in the tin and mould it up the sides, making sure it is even all over.
  • Trim off any excess pastry and spread the frangipane evenly on top.
  • Cut the pears in half lengthways and, using a teaspoon, scoop out and discard the core from the centre. Cut each pear half in slices, widthways, and arrange prettily on top of the frangipane.
  • Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is golden and the filling is set.
  • Sprinkle with the extra 2 teaspoons caster sugar and bake in the oven for a further 15 minutes to finish off the browning.
  • Cool in the tin slightly, then carefully remove and transfer to a wire rack.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

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